Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
1/13/20 1:13 p.m.

Story by Tom Suddard • Photography as Credited

Our last two races…didn’t go well. In fact, 2017 as a whole was a rough year for our turbocharged Miata. We blew the engine at Daytona and replaced it with a professional rebuild before stumbling through two test days that both ended in disaster. Then we capped off the season by destroying …

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L5wolvesf Reader
1/13/20 3:42 p.m.

Good article.


I just finished rereading “The Unfair Advantage”, beyond the Mark Donahue story there are some things in there that relate to what you’re doing.


From my experiences you seem to be short 1 checklist, a ‘between sessions list’. Things like; debrief driver, clean windshield, check (oil, coolant, tire pressure, wear, lug nuts, etc. etc.). Ours was a laminated sheet that was placed on the windshield once the car returned to the pit. It would be wiped off after each usage.

nimblemotorsports Reader
1/13/20 7:45 p.m.

"We were sharing the track with teams that literally had factory support staff on hand for their factory-built race cars. And our biggest technical innovation at this point was cutting our springs more precisely the second time around."


russelljones48 New Reader
1/14/20 7:00 a.m.

If the NASA checklists are from the racing org and not the space org can you share them?  Or share those you've created?  Or any others that would be generic and useful.  Thanks. 

dculberson MegaDork
1/14/20 7:52 a.m.

I can confirm that your first time out in an AER race is a little intimidating. But I found the on track behavior exemplary and the off track people welcoming and warm. They're really well run races and a ton of fun. 

Rodan Dork
1/14/20 3:52 p.m.

Great article!

Checklists are something that have been on my 'list' to create for a while... just haven't found the time.  I did create a log sheet a couple years back... it takes some discipline to be consistent in filling them out between sessions, but as an HPDE/TT driver who's just starting to get serious about data, the payoff is worth it.

Need to spend some effort on spares this year.  I've been very fortunate that my Miata is so reliable... I guess I must have done OK in the prep part of things.  wink

Paul_VR6 Dork
1/15/20 9:29 a.m.

I have read this article a few times, I just need to internalize it more. The tip about the toolbox/parts organization is gold.

ProCoach New Reader
5/10/22 11:14 a.m.

Good old Skeen! "The Driver is the Greatest Performance Variable"


Good article!

RonnieFnD Reader
11/19/23 9:44 a.m.

Fantastic read and hits close to home.  My car has done great at the past few events causing me to get complacent.  Every time I do this something breaks.  Thanks for bumping this up to the top, I need to do better.

Tom1200 PowerDork
11/19/23 2:53 p.m.

In reply to RonnieFnD :

My solution is to run an under stressed over built car. All of the suspension parts on the Datsun are meant for a tube frame car on slicks; not a tub car on dreaded tires. The motor is tuned as such that it will go 5 seasons with nothing more than oil changes.

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